Blueberry Lemon Pie with Stuffed Crust

20130531-181433.jpg

Blueberry and lemon are definitely fruity BFFs. I love blueberries, but sometimes they are too sweet for me. Lemon is the perfect balance to that sweetness. Like all good best friends, these fruits compliment and bring out the best in each other, and the praline stuffed crust adds a lovely, crunchy surprise! Served chilled, this pie is the perfect, refreshing antidote for the hot days of early summer.

We use fresh berries for this, but you can substitute frozen berries, just add a few minutes to the cooking time–no need to defrost them. I like turbinado (raw) sugar for the crust filling–it’s richer flavor is terrific with the pecans. But, if you have regular, granulated sugar, you can use that instead.

Enjoy berry season! It is short and sweet, but always very tasty!

Stuffed Crust Blueberry Lemon Pie

  • 2 pie crusts from your favorite recipe
  • 1/4 cup organic, raw turbinado sugar
  • 1 tablespoon cinnamon
  • 1/4 cup organic butter, melted
  • 1 cup toasted pecan halves
  • 3 cups organic or pesticide-free blueberries
  • Lemon juice and zest from 1 organic lemon
  • 2 teaspoons quick cooking tapioca
  • 2 tablespoons organic cane sugar
  • 8 ounces lemon curd
  1. Preheat oven to 425 degrees.
  2. Add turbinado sugar, pecans, and cinnamon to the bowl of a food processor. Blend until finely textured, about 30 seconds. Set aside.
  3. Roll first pie crust into a 9″ pie pan, making sure crust connects with the sides. Brush entire crust with the melted butter.
  4. Add remaining melted butter to the sugar mixture and blend well. Cover bottom of the crust with the cinnamon/pecan mixture.
  5. Top with the second crust, pressing crust down to make contact with the cinnamon/pecan mixture and the sides of the first crust. Crimp edges and trim extra crust.
  6. Use a paring knife, cut small slits in the crust (this will allow steam to escape when baking).
  7. Bake crust for 20 minutes or until golden. Remove from oven and cool for 1 hour.
  8. When crust is cool, combine 1 cup of the berries, lemon zest, juice, tapioca and cane sugar in a saucepan. Heat over medium. Mash berries well and bring to a gentle simmer for 10 minutes.
  9. Add remaining blueberries, stir well and continue cooking for 2-3 minutes.
  10. Spread lemon curd over cooled crust. Spread blueberry mixture over the lemon curd.
  11. Refrigerate for at least 2 hours. Keep leftovers refrigerated for up to 5 days (if the pie lasts that long!),

Mixed Berry Ice Pops

20130630-161517.jpg

I can’t tell you how much fun we have had making our own ice pops this summer! This mixed berry version is definitely my favorite so far. The berries are nice and tart–very refreshing on a hot day. The yogurt and almond milk mellow out the tartness and keep the ice pops just a bit creamy. We used a mix of blackberries, blueberries, raspberries and cherries since that is what we have at the markets now. You can use whatever is available to you locally or buy a bag of frozen berries. Maybe I’ll sneak some of these into the deep freeze for a winter treat 🙂

Mixed Berry Ice Pops (makes 10, 3 ounce ice pops)

  • 4 cups fresh berries (preferably pesticide-free)
  • 4 ounces vanilla Greek yogurt
  • 1 1/2 to 2 cups organic almond milk
  1. Put all ingredients into a Vitamix or good quality blender. Blend until smooth.
  2. Pour into ice pop molds.
  3. Add sticks, if needed, and freeze 4 hours or overnight.

Blueberry Lemon Jam

20130617-080549.jpgBlueberries are awesome little powerhouses of nutrition. High in antioxidants, fiber and vitamins, they are sweet little health heroes. For me, as much as I like blueberries, I tend to like them better when paired with another flavor. Unlike our local blackberries, blueberries are just a bit too sweet for me. When partnered up with a more tart flavor, their sweetness is a bit more in balance. I love the combination of blueberry and lemon (and our blueberry-rhubarb combinations this spring were terrific also). So this weekend, I made a new jam experiment with just blueberry and lemon. The result? I think the blueberries taste far better in this jam than in plain blueberry itself! The lemon and lemon zest really brings out the brightness of the berries. This is a keeper!

One of the wonderful things about making jam with blueberries is that a lot of the work is done for you. Unlike strawberries, which require hulling and chopping, blueberries just need a quick wash and a check for any remaining little stems and you’re ready. Also, blueberries have a lot of natural pectin, so you don’t have to use any pectin at all, unless you’re in a hurry.

This recipe uses two kinds of lemon juice–bottled lemon juice (this is to provide enough acid in the jam that the jam will remain shelf stable) and fresh lemon juice and zest (for fresh lemon flavor). This is one place you want to buy an organic lemon. Actually, any time you are zesting citrus, you want to use an organic or pesticide-free fruit because you are using the part of the fruit that is most exposed to pesticides and toxins.

Blueberry Lemon Jam (makes 5-6 half pints)

  • 8 cups fresh blueberries (preferably pesticide free)
  • 1 1/2 cups sugar
  • 1/4 cup bottled lemon juice**
  • Juice and zest from one organic lemon
  1. Fill a canning pot with water, insert the rack and add 6 half pint canning jars. Heat over high to boiling, then turn off heat and let sit until you are ready.
  2. Wash the blueberries in cool water and pick off any remaining stem pieces.
  3. Put the washed, wet blueberries into a non-reactive stock pot and heat over medium. Mash berries with a potato masher several times while cooking.
  4. When blueberries and juice come to a low boil, add the sugar, lemon juices and zest. Stir well to dissolve the sugar.
  5. Turn heat down a bit and keep blueberries at a low boil, stirring frequently, for about 45 minutes or until the berry mixture gels.
  6. Remove hot jars from the canning pot (carefully!) and set them on a clean tea towel. Put the jar lids into a bowl and pour some of the hot water over them to cover.
  7. Carefully ladle jam into the hot jars, leaving 1/4″ of headspace. Add lids and bands, just tighten bands to finger tightness.
  8. Return the filled jars to the canning pot, cover pot, and heat over high to boiling. Boil for 10 minutes. Turn off heat, remove cover, and let sit for 5 minutes.
  9. Remove jars from the hot water bath and let sit undisturbed for 24 hours. Check seals and store in a cool, dry place for up to 1 year.

**You can use fresh lemon juice, but because bottled juice is more consistent in its acid content, the bottled stuff may be more reliable.

Whole Wheat Blueberry Muffins

20130510-141516.jpg

I had a colleague once who coined the phrase “Fear the Muffin!” We would regularly meet for staff meetings at a nearby coffee shop and whenever someone would order a gigantic muffin, she would extol the horrors of commercial muffins. Even now, when I just see a muffin in a coffee shop, I hear her voice–Fear the Muffin! As it turns out, she was right.

Commercially baked muffins are not only 2-3 times a normal serving, they are laden with sugars (usually more than one kind), unhealthy oils and flavor substitutes. To make their profit margin, many commercial bakeries (including box mixes) skimp–or don’t even bother with–quality ingredients. Look at the ingredients list of many box blueberry muffin mixes. See real blueberries? Probably not. Instead, they oomph up the sugar and salt to substitute for real flavor, and many include artificial flavors. Who wants to pair all that with a marvelous cup of coffee? Not me, that’s who.

Muffins are quick, easy to make and inexpensive. Homemade muffins have the benefit of using ingredients that are better for you and allow you to control sugar, salt and fat. These muffins are by far my favorite. While blueberries won’t be in season for another three months, we froze some of last year’s blueberries so we would be able to make muffins and other blueberry recipes all year. Paired with lemon and locally produced Maple View Farm buttermilk, they are a little sweet and a little tangy. A great snack to send off to work with Tom (and hopefully a deterrent to stopping at the Krispy Kreme he has to walk by on his way to work!).

This recipe is adapted from Mom’s Bit Book of Baking by Lauren Chattman.

Whole Wheat Blueberry Muffins (makes 18 muffins)

  • 2 cups whole wheat flour
  • 2 tsp. organic baking powder
  • 1/2 tsp. baking soda
  • 1/4 tsp. salt
  • 1/2 cut (1 stick) unsalted, organic butter, melted and cooled
  • 1/3 cup unbleached, organic cane sugar
  • 2 large farm eggs
  • 1 tsp. pure vanilla extract
  • 1 tsp. grated lemon zest
  • 1 cup buttermilk or Greek yogurt
  • 2 cups fresh or frozen blueberries
  1. Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Line 2 12-cup muffin tins with paper liners or grease tins.
  2. In a medium mixing bowl, combine the flour, baking powder, baking soda, and salt and mix.
  3. In a larger mixing bowl, whisk together the melted butter, sugar, eggs, vanilla, lemon zest and buttermilk/yogurt.
  4. Add dry ingredients to the large bowl and mix until just combined. Fold in blueberries. The dough will be pretty thick.
  5. Fill each muffin cup about 3/4 full (I use an ice cream scoop for this). Put trays in oven and bake about 25 minutes.
  6. Remove muffins from the pan and let cool on a wire cooling rack.
  7. Store muffins in an airtight container for up to 3 days or freeze for up to 1 month.

 

%d bloggers like this: